The Australian Open has confirmed a start date of February 8, 2021 with strict COVID-19 testing procedures in place.
Following weeks of negotiations with the Victorian government, Tennis Australia exec Craig Tiley confirmed the Australian Open had been given the go-ahead.
As reported in the Herald Sun, Roger Federer and Serena Williams will start arriving in Melbourne from the middle of January and will go into a two-week quarantine. They will be able to train if they receive a negative COVID test result when arriving in Melbourne.
In an email B&T understands was sent to players, agents and management teams, Tiley wrote: “It’s taken a while, but the great news is it looks like we are going to be able to hold the AO on 8 February.
“Players will have to quarantine for two weeks from 15 January, but the Victorian Government has agreed to special conditions for AO participants – agreeing that they need to be able to prepare for a Grand Slam.
“There will be strict conditions, but after quarantine, players are free to stay where they want, go where they want, play lead-in matches and then compete in an AO in front of significant crowds in a great Melbourne atmosphere for the first time in many months.”
According to reports, the following procedures have been put in place to ensure a COVID-safe tournament.
- Players will take a COVID test within 48 hours of departure to Australia
- Players will have additional COVID tests on days 1, 3, 7, 10 and 14
- From Day 2, following a Day 1 negative test result, players can practice and use gym facilities
- When not training, players must remain in their hotel rooms
This will all come at a huge cost for Tennis Australia, with Tiley confirming TA will pay for the charter flights, player and entourage quarantine costs, meals and accommodation.
Good news for Nine
The AO being given the green light is good news for Nine, who snared the broadcast rights from Seven in a $48.5 million agreement with Tennis Australia in 2018.
B&T has contacted Nine for comment.
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